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I Want to Live
Wed Apr 5, 2006 18:02 (XFF:

The sun’s last rays were casting a golden red light over the windblown sand of the Iraqi desert. The wind kicked up little tufts of sand sending them dancing everywhere. The last rays escaping view gave the world a feeling of completeness the sort of an ending that can only described with poetry and song. It was too bad really that Aaron was neither poet nor bard. He was a soldier and was not thinking about the beauty of the desert.

Aaron had been with the U.S. Air Force for three years now…well seven if you count his time at the Academy. He was a Combat Rescue Officer, an elite position one which commanded respect, but one which was not the most safe. CRO’s spend most of their time jumping out of planes into battlefields were people are already shooting, or traversing harsh territory secretly to find and document enemy activities. Having left his wife of two years, Susan at home when he was reassigned from stateside work to Iraq, it would be natural to think that these dangers would be foremost in his mind.

They were not. It is not that he didn’t miss his wife, or that he didn’t want to see her again, but more immediate things were on his mind. Two days ago his patrol had found a camp of insurgents. They were camped within a ruin, pillars and columns sticking out of the sand suggested that it was recently uncovered by a storm. One had caught his eye in particular…

“Your way home”. His dreams, ever since he was transferred to this hell were of home, but for the past three months there was more to it. There was a woman short with dark hair and a face he could not put an age to. She was always calling out to him showing him this very column and saying “this stone column is your way home…you were never suppose to be here and you have stayed too long, seize the power inside you and come home.” She always pointed to a small niche on the stones as she said this and it never made any sense to him.

The unit doctor told him that it was just the stress of the environment and that there was nothing he could do about it. Aaron disagreed, there seemed to be something more to it. How could a man have the same dream every night for three months and it not be something more than stress.

Two days ago when he had seen the stone which had been in his dreams for the past three months he stood up putting him in full view of the insurgents. He couldn’t help it. That is how he ended up here, tied to the stone column with nothing but the desert camouflage uniform and dog tags. So, his thoughts were not on the beautiful sunset, or his lovely wife, but on this worthless hunk of rock which because of him had killed fifteen men under his command.

“Seize the power inside you and come home.” What a crock! The doc was right and I got everyone killed because of this stupid dream. I just want to GO HOME and now that will never happen. I’ll never see Susan again, or have kids or anything that I wanted to do. These thoughts filled him as his bruised and beaten body slumped against the bonds holding to the stone. The insurgents had tortured him for several hours; he was bleeding from multiple to his chest and arms, his face was a black and blue mess, and his legs broken in several places.

After they had their fun and found Aaron unlikely to give them any information they stopped, promising more to come. Yet it was not the pain of the wounds which kept him up once they had gone. The faces of his men, the idiocy of his actions, these weighed upon him like and oppressing furnace. Sleep came finally and the dream, always the same.

BOOM! Aaron was suddenly shaken awake by the sound of mortars and gunfire. All around him bullets were wizzing by and grenades were going off. His first thought was of rescue, the good guys had shown up and he would soon be out of here. The second was that those mortars were landing awfully close by and coming even closer by the second.

He struggled against his bonds calling out frantically hoping that whoever was attacking the insurgents would hear him even though he knew it was impossible. The grenades soon began landing close enough that he could feel the shock waves emanating from the blasts. This is it. I killed everyone in my unit and I’m going to die here in the desert tied to this stupid hunk of rock. Stupid dreams… damn it, I just want to live.

Something inside Aaron snapped “I want to live,” he shouted into the heavens. Just then he could feel something filling him and at the same time leaving his body pouring into the stone column, right into the niche which until this time he had been brooding too much to notice. He felt a tugging sensation pulling him forward and he kept shouting over and over “I want to live”. The world spun around him somewhere in all of it he could hear the same voice echoing over and over again in his mind “come home”.

Finally the spinning stopped and Aaron slumped forward, still bound to the column and shouted one final time, “I want to live” before the velvety blackness of unconsciousness overtook him.

Nightfall was hardly the time for one to be traveling, especially in the Waste, but with Rhuidean now in sight Jachin Horstan was not likely to stop. It hadn’t been very long since the Aiel opened Rhuidean to other people. They were still prickly about who could come in and when. And the prickly side usually involves spears Jachin thought with a grimace. Yet he had promised that Aes Sedai in Carhienin that he would deliver a letter to Menaihya Sedai in Rhuidean by tonight and only a fool would even think about breaking a promise to an Aes Sedai.

He was hurrying on his way when he heard out of the coming darkness a man crying “I want to live”. Looking up, he saw the source of the cry, a man slumping forward tied to a column in the sand. Cursing he turned his wagon of the trail toward the man. As much as he didn’t want to get involved in whatever had gotten this man tied up out here, he couldn’t leave him.

(OOC: wow, sorry this took so long to get up, but the ideas for the string were way complicated and we didn't want to get started only to have to go back and change things in the middle of the story. Anyway, more to come soon)

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